Record Store Day is like Christmas for vinyl lovers. But Santa doesn't arrive in the form of a big and jolly bearded man but in the form of your friendly neighborhood record shops. This year (and for years to come) that role is being played by The Record Lounge and Flat, Black and Circular. The day was created in 2007 by Chris Brown, a Maine record shop employee at Bull Moose. Since its founding the number of stores participating in the day's activities has grown has from about 300 stores in 2007 to 700 in 2010. Also, the number of special releases by artists from Metallica to MGMT has skyrocketed from 10 in 2007 to over 150.
Jon Howard, co-founder of Flat, Black and Circular (FBC), explains why he thinks Record Store Day is so special. He says that "there is a united effort from a dozen or so labels to promote the day, without us having to buy advertising. Kind of like the labels saying 'Hey, check out these stores!!'. There are also vinyl releases for the day, and they are instant collectors items (and I don’t just say that often)". Both FBC and The Record Lounge will have exclusive releases as well as performances. FBC will host The People's Temple while The Record Lounge will hold an outdoor show with a slew of bands. Visit their respective websites for more information.
In the digital age, many think that vinyl is a relic of the 1960s and 70s but those who celebrate Record Store Day and vinyl lovers in general know it's more than that. Howard says "vinyl has come out on top (of digital downloads) because it is often a work of art and labor of love. It looks better, is more interactive (i.e. you have to get off the couch), and (we think) sounds better than CD (and WAY better than MP3). It is harder to damage than CDs also. We have seen copies of 1960’s LPs that visually look bad, but play great". These are all great reasons to be a vinyl advocate and to many, these are the prime reasons. Howard also says that shopping at a record shop like FBC is a "social experience" because "we see people interacting and meeting at our shop daily, and we will bug you too".
FBC, which opened in 1977, has seen every musical device come and go in their shop, from the Sony Walkman tape player, to the CD player to the current age of Ipods and Mp3s. Howard quips "We are very aggressive about finding unknown music, but we still don’t have a cash register!!". This aggressive passion for the old school, word of mouth advertising have helped FBC grow exponentially since its inception. Hopefully FBC, The Record Lounge and Record Store Day as a whole, continue to grow and continue to provide their community with great fun and more importantly, great music.